September 12, 2012

CHILLICOTHE, OH – The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio sent a letter to Zane Trace High School in Chillicothe today, reminding the school that students have a First Amendment right to engage in political speech at school sponsored events.

The letter follows reports of a student being asked to leave a school football game because they were registering voters and circulating petitions.

“Not only do students have a constitutional right to register voters and circulate petitions at school sponsored events, they should be commended for doing so,” said ACLU of Ohio Legal Director James Hardiman. “This is exactly the kind of civic engagement schools should be proud of.”

“The Supreme Court long ago established that students have First Amendment rights and that their school must have a very serious reason for censoring them,” added Hardiman. “Disagreeing with a student's political opinion or finding their engagement uncomfortable certainly does not rise to this level of seriousness.”